Tom Mankiewicz, 1942 - 2010

David Hudson

"Tom Mankiewicz, a screenwriter and premier script doctor who made his reputation working on such James Bond films as Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun, has died. He was 68." Valerie J Nelson in the Los Angeles Times: "As a second-generation member of the Mankiewicz movie clan, he had often admitted he was intimidated by his family and its reputation. His father, Joseph L Mankiewicz, the Oscar-winning writer and director of the 1950 film All About Eve, was one of the most celebrated filmmakers of his era. His uncle, Herman J Mankiewicz, co-wrote Citizen Kane (1941) with Orson Welles."

"[T]he work Mankiewicz did without credit went a long way into shaping the blockbuster," notes the Salt Lake Tribune's Sean P Means: "Warner Bros hired him as a 'creative consultant,' a full-time script fixer. Among the screenplays he helped polish were Superman, Superman II, Gremlins, WarGames and Tim Burton's Batman."

Means also points to an appreciation at MI6: "Mankiewicz conceded Diamonds Are Forever was a challenging project but the young screenwriter was able to inject new life into the Bond series, penning some of the series' wittiest dialogue. The work met with the approval of Sean Connery who had been coaxed out of 'retirement' for one last adventure. Sean held such a grip over the production that it was with nervousness that the 60-page draft by Mankiewicz was posted to Connery. The Scotsman gave it his seal of approval, asking how old the new screenwriter was. Mankiewicz recalled that 'Sean started calling me Boyo. And he said, "Tell the boyo to keep working."' Many years later, 'Boyo' was still what Sir Sean called his favourite 007 screenwriter."

An interview recorded during the 2007/2008 writers' strike:

"If he had an ultimate identity among some comics fans, it was as... The Script Fixer." Michael Cavna for the Washington Post on the Superman screenplays: "In his own words, Mankiewicz wrote the 'final drafts' of the two Christopher Reeve films, which director Richard Donner shot nearly concurrently. Or perhaps more precisely, according to Hollywood lore, Mankiewicz was the one who largely improved and 'de-camped' the Supes scripts, while still leaving in the cinematic winks and intentional laughs."

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